Moments in History | Hektoen International

Doctor bites policeman in Chicago religious dispute

St. Volodmyr and  Olha Cathedral The episode took place in Chicago about half a century ago. At the time some 100,000 Ukrainians lived in the greater Chicago area, mostly in a near-west neighborhood referred to as the Ukrainian village. They were mostly (c.70%) Catholics of the Byzantine or Eastern rite, adhering to the old Julian […]

The King’s-Evil and sensory experience in Richard Wiseman’s Severall Chirurgicall Treatises

Adam S. Komorowski & Sang Ik Song University of Limerick, Ireland (Spring 2017)   Charles II touching a patient for the King’s Evil (scrofula) Throughout many centuries, the monarchs of England maintained as royal prerogative the ability to heal the sick by virtue of their miraculous touch alone. William of Malmesbury (c.1090-c.1143) first described the use […]

Physician: study thyself

Susan Hurley Griffith University, Queensland University of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia (Winter 2017)   In 2016 one man died and five others suffered brain damage during a drug trial in Rennes, France.1 A similar disaster occurred during the 2006 London trial of a novel monoclonal antibody: six men experienced an immediate systemic inflammatory response and became […]

What November may bring: the first 37 days of surgical anesthesia

A.J. Wright Birmingham, Alabama, United States (Spring 2016)     William Thomas Green Morton (August 9, 1819 – July 15, 1868) In medical history October 16 is known as “Ether Day” to commemorate dentist William Morton’s 1846 demonstration of ether inhalation for a surgical patient of Dr. John Collins Warren. The event is often described […]

Changing conceptions of the nightmare in medicine

Brian A. Sharpless Washington State University, United States (Spring 2016)   The nightmare, 1781 Henry Fuseli Detroit Institute of Arts In contemporary parlance the word “nightmare” conjures up images of a scary dream that leaves us shaken and afraid. This fear usually subsides when we wake and realize that we are actually safe in our […]

The Hogmouths of Habsburg

Craig Blackstone Bethesda, Maryland, United States (Winter 2017)   1670 Austrian 3 Kreuzer coin.[i] Image by Craig Blackstone. Coins are miniature works of art.  Since portraits of prominent individuals have graced coins for millennia, images forged in precious metals in the distant past can represent  disease even now. Indeed, the earliest artistic depictions of disorders […]

A tale of two cities: Swedish roots of electrophoresis

Frank A. Wollheim Lund, Sweden (Summer 2016)     Arne Tiselius left and Henry Kunkel in Uppsala 1949-50. Photo courtesy of Arne Tiselius’ son Per Tiselius. My title refers to two Swedish hospitals: one in Uppsala with its old and famous university, the other in Malmö, where academic activity started only in 1950 but soon […]

Hubris syndrome – a moment in history?

Lord David Owen has written extensively about politicians and heads of state who became insufferable from being intoxicated by the power of their office. He called this aberration from gentlemanly behavior the hubris syndrome, an acquired personality disorder that most often went away after they left office. Hubris has come down to us from the […]

The death of Charles II

A king in exile: Charles II, ca. 1653 Philippe de Champaigne Oil on canvas King Charles II of England, son of Charles I, grandson of Henri IV of Navarre and Marie de Medici, and great grandson of Mary Queen of Scots, was 18 years old when his father was deposed and executed on January 30, […]

The last illness of King Edward VI (1537–1553)

Son of Henry VIII and of his third wife Jane Seymour, Edward became king of England at the age of nine and reigned for only a little over six years. Because of the importance of having a male heir, his father took every precaution to preserve him from any contagion and especially from contact with […]